Posted by Phil Whiteway
Home for the Holidays, our annual benefit cabaret for the Richmond Theatre Artists Fund, begins tonight. I can't wait. At every performance of last year's wonderful show, our emcee (some crazy guy named Bruce Miller) dedicated the song "I'll be Home for Christmas," sung by Cathy Motley-Fitch, to my son PJ and the men and women of the Virginia National Guard. He noted that Peej was shipping out for Iraq in March and would likely be spending Christmas 2007 on the desert sands with Uncle Sam. That's what we all thought at the time.
Wonder of wonders, it has not come to pass!
PJ is flying home for a two-week leave sometime today, tomorrow or the day after, and he'll be with us at least through Christmas Eve--maybe even Christmas Day--before flying back to his service in Iraq. Each soldier gets a couple weeks R & R during the year. PJ put in for December, and it's looking like he'll get his wish. After returning to his base, he'll have three more months, we think, until he comes back home to the U S of A for good in mid- to late-March.
At least that's the plan. The US troops play their cards pretty close to their armored vests. But we're told that most National Guard units have been deployed only for 12 months rather than 18.
Thanks to all of you who have been keeping PJ and his fellow soldiers in your prayers. We hope you'll keep it up. We're certainly grateful to have him home for the holidays, and he's pretty psyched too.
At the top of this post is what I like to think of as his "Christmas Card," posted on his MySpace or FaceBook--I can't remember which one. The caption reads:
"Just visiting the neighbors and hanging out with the kids!"
To which we add the first line of that familiar church school carol:
"Let their be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!